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WHEREAS, the role of the ombuds originated over 200 years ago in Sweden, designated as a government official charged with advocating on behalf of citizens with complaints or problems with the government; and
WHEREAS, today’s ombuds are confidential, independent, and impartial conflict management professionals who work to address individual and systemic issues outside of and complementary to formal channels such as human resources, grievances, complaints, and legal action; and
WHEREAS, ombuds work in a wide variety of organizations within the Commonwealth of Virginia and worldwide, including universities and colleges, governments at all levels, healthcare institutions, corporations, financial institutions, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, the media, and international organizations; and
WHEREAS, ombuds programs provide a valuable form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and significant value to the constituents and institutions they serve, and are an essential supplement to formal conflict management processes that address allegedly inappropriate or wrongful conduct; and
WHEREAS, ombuds provide powerful risk management resources for the organizations they serve; and
WHEREAS, recognition of this day is an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of the profession, highlight the value ombuds bring to the organizations and residents they serve, and encourage the greater use of ombuds programs; and
WHEREAS, citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia are encouraged to become familiar with the ombuds profession and the professional in this role across sectors, and to make use of these essential services as needed;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 8, 2020, as OMBUDS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.